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hath no fruitfulncss without showers or dews; for all the herbs, and flowers, and fruits are produced and thrive by the water. Then how advantageous is the sea for our daily traffic: without which we could not now subsist! How does it not onlv furnish us with food and physic for the bodies, but with such observations for the mind as ingenious persons would not want!
Piscntor then discourses most interestingly upon the variety of the fish, and of its use to man; not forgetting, in speaking of the honesty of his calling, to mention that «the Apostles Peter, James, and John, were all fishers." So excellent and convincing is his discourse, that Venator is fairly won over, and snys to him, "If you will but meet me to-morrow, at the time and place appointed, and bestow one day with me in hunting the otter, I will dedicate the next two days to wait upon you, and we two, for that time, will do nothing but angle, and talk of fish and fishing." This is agreed to, and in the fourth dialogue or chapter, while they are engaged earnestly in angling for trout, Piscator thus speaks >—
Look! under that broad beech-tree I sat down, when I was last this way a-fishing, and the birds in the adjoining groves seemed to have a friendly contention with an echo, whose dead voice seemed to live in a hollow tree, near to the brow of that primrose hill: there I sat viewing the silver streams glide silently towards their centre, the tempestuous sea; yet sometimes opposed by rugged roots and pebble stones, which broke their waves and turned them into foam: and sometimes I beguiled time by viewing the harmless lambs, some leaping securely in the cool shade, whilst others sported themselves in the cheerful sun; and saw others craving comfort from the swollen udders of their bleating dams.1 As I thus sat, these and other sights had so fully possessed my soul with content, that I thought, as the poet has happily expressed it,
I was for that time lifted above earth;
And possess'd joys not promised in my birth.
As I left this place and entered into the next field, a second pleasure entertained me; it was a handsome milk-maid, that had not yet attained so much age and wisdom as to load her mind with any fears of many things that will never be, as too many men too often do; but she cast away all care, and sung like a nightingale; her voice was good, and the ditty fitted for it: it was that smooth song, which was made by Kit Marlow,' now at least fifty years ago; and the milk-maid's mother sung an answer to it, which was made by Sir Walter Raleigh,3 in his younger days.
They were old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good; I think much better than the strong lines that are now in fashion in this critical age. Look yonder! on my word, yonder they both be
1 Thia beautiful description la [Uoiott word for word from Sir Philip Sidney's "Arcadia." See p. s1
a-milking again. I will give her the chub, and persuade them to sing those two songs to us.
God speed you, good woman! I have been a-fishing, and am going to Bleak-hall, to my bed; and having caught more fish than will sup myself and my friend, I will bestow this upon you and your daughter, for I use to sell none.
ARlk-woman. Marry, God requite you, sir, and we'll eat it cheerfully; and if you come this way a-fishing two months hence, a grrace of God, I'll give you a syllabub of new verjuice in a newmade haycock for it, and my Maudlin shall sing you one of her best ballads; for she and I both love all anglers, they be such honest, civil, quiet men: in the mean time will you drink a draught of red cow's milk? You shall have it freely.
Piscator. No, I thank you; but I pray do us a courtesy, that shall stand you and your daughter in nothing, and yet we will think ourselves still something in your debt: it is but to sing us a song that was sung by your daughter when I last past over this meadow, about eight or nine days since.
Milk-woman. What song was it, I pray? Was it Come, shepherds, deck your herds? or, As at noon Dulcina rested? or, Phillida flouts me? or, Chevy-chase? or, Johnny Armstrong? or, Troy-toion?
Piscator. No, it is none of those; it is a song that your daughter sung the first part, and you sung the answer to it.
Milk-waman. Oh, I know it now; I learned the first part in my golden age, when I was about the age of my poor daughter, and the latter part, which indeed fits me best now, but two or three years ago, when the cares of the world began to take hold of me: but you shall, God willing, hear them both, and sung as well as we can; for we both love anglers. Come, Maudlin, sing the first part to the gentleman with a merry heart, and I'll sing the second when you have done.
Here follows the milk-maid's song, « Come live with me and be my love.'' after which Venator speaks:
Venator. Trust me, master, it is a choice song, and sweetly sung by honest Maudlin. I now see it was not without cause that our good queen Elizabeth did so often wish herself a milk.maid all the month of May, because they are not troubled with fears and cares, but sing sweetly all the day, and sleep securely all the night; and without doubt, honest, innocent, pretty Maudlin does so. I'll bestow Sir Thomas Overbury's milk-maid's wish1 upon her, "That she may die in the spring, and, being dead, may have good store of flowers stuck round about her windingsheet."
1 See page 117.
Then conies the milk-maid's mother's answer, "If all the world and love were young," which done, the mother adds:
Well, I have done my song; but stay, honest anglers, for I will make Maudlin to sing you one short song more. Maudlin, sing that song that you sung last night when young Coridon the shepherd played so purely on his oaten pipe to you and your cousin Betty.
Maudlin. I will, mother.
I married a wiib of late—
The mores my unhappy fate, &c.
Piscator. Well sung, good woman; I thank you. I'll give you another dish of fish one of these days, and then beg another song of you. Come, scholar, let Maudlin alone: do not you offer to spoil her voice. Look, yonder comes mine hostess to call us to supper. How now! is my brother Peter come?
Hostess. Yes, and a friend with him; they are both glad to hear that you are in these parts, and long to see you, and long to be at supper, for they be very hungry.
The following most beautiful exhortation to contentment, which comes from the mouth of Piscator, is a perfect gem. Who would not be wiser and better for reading it every day? Walton's own life seems to have illustrated, in an eminent degree, the character he here describes—"The meek, who shall inherit the earth."
I knew a man that had health and riches, and several houses, all beautiful and ready furnished, and would often trouble himself and family to be removing from one house to another; and being asked by a friend why he removed so often from one house to another, replied, " It was to find content in some of them." But his friend, knowing his temper, told him, " If he would find content in any of his houses, he must leave himself behind him; for content will never dwell but in a meek and quiet soul." And this may appear, if we read and consider what our Saviour says in St. Matthew's Gospel, for he there says," Blessed be the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed be the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed be the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And blessed be the meek, for they shall possess the earth." Not that the meek shall not also obtain mercy, and sec God, and be comforted, and at last come to the kingdom of heaven; but, in the mean time, he, and he only, possesses the earth, as he goes toward that kingdom of heaven, by being humble and cheerful, and content with what his good God has allotted him. He has no turbulent, repining, vexatious thoughts that he deserves better; nor is vexed when he sees others possessed of more honor or more riches than his wise God has allotted for his share; but he possesses what he has with a meek and contented quietness, such a quietness as makes his very dreams pleasing, both to God and himself.1
ROBERT LEIGHTON. 1013—1084.
This eminent divine was bom in London in 1013, and educated at the University of Edinburgh. He was first settled as a Presbyterian clergyman in a small church near Edinburgh; but being disapproved of by his brethren, because he did not sufficiently "preach to the times," he resigned his living, and soon after was chosen principal of the University of Edinburgh. When Charles II. resolved to make the attempt to introduce episcopacy into Scotland, Leighton was induced to accept a bishopric, but ho chose the humblest of the whole, that of Dumblane, and would not join in the pompous entry of his brethren into Edinburgh. On the contrary, he conducted himself with so much moderation and humility, that he won the affections of even the most rigid Presbyterians. Subsequently, when the court of Charles II., failing to attain their object by cruelty and butchery, resolved to accomplish it more in the way of persuasiveness and gentleness, Leighton was induced to accept the archbishopric of Glasgow. Still he found it an allair of contention little suited to his habits or turn of mind ; accordingly he resigned his situation, and retired to the county of Sussex iu England, where he ended his days in 1684."
The following character of this most excellent man is given by Bishop Burnet, in his "History of His Own Times." "Ho had great quickness of parts, a lively apprehension, with a charming vivacity of thought and expression. He had the greatest commantl of the purest Latin that ever 1 knew in any man. He was a master both of Greek and Hebrew, and of tho whole compass of theological learning, chiefly in the study of the Scriptures. But that which excelled all the rest was, he was possessed with the highest and noblest sense of divine things that I ever saw in any man. He had no regard to his person, unless it was to mortify it by a constant low diet, that was like a perpetual fast. He had a contempt both of wealth and reputation. He seemed to have the lowest thoughts of himself possible, and to desire that all other persons should think as meanly of him as he did himself. Ho bore all sorts of ill usage and reproach like a man that took pleasure in it. He had so subdued the natural heat of his temper, that in a great variety of accidents, and in a course of twenty-two years' intimate conversation with him, I never observed the least sign of passion but upon one single occasion. He brought himself into so composed a gravity, that I never saw him laugh, and but seldom smile. Anil he kept himself in such a constant recollection, that I do
1 The editions of Walton's "Anfrler" are almost innumerable; hut the most splendid is that by Sir Harris Nicolas, published by Pickering, London, 1830, in one tall, imperial octavo, with numerous plates. But the American reader has nothing more to desire than the beautiful edlUon recently published by Wiley A Putnam, prepared with Kreatlearning and taste by the "American Editor," well understood to be the Rev. George W. Bcthune, D. D.
* Coleridge's " Aids to ReflccUon" has for its foundation selections from the wrUings of Leighton. tail not, reader, to possess thyself of it, and make the rich treasure thy manual.
not remember that ever I heard him sny one idle word. There was a visible tendeney in all he said to mise his own mind, and those he conversed with, to serious reflections. He seemed to be in a perpetual meditation. His preaching had a sublimity both of thought and expression in it. The gmce and gmvity of his pronunciation was snch, that few heard him without a very sensible emotion: I am sure I never did. His style was mther too fine; but there was a majesty and beauty in it that left so deep an impression, that I cannot yet forget the sermons I heard him preach thirty years ago. And yet with this he seemed to look on himself as so ordinary a preacher, that while he had a cure, he was ready to employ all others. And when he was a bishop, he chose to preach to small auditories, and would never give notice beforehand: he had, indeed, a very low voice, and so could not be heard by a great crowd."
DESPISE NOT THE LEAST.
We are to observe and to respect the smallest good that is in any. Although a Christian be never so base in his outward condition in body or mind, of very mean intellectual and natural endowments; yet they that know the worth of spiritual things will esteem the grace of God that is in him, in the midst of all those disadvantages, as men esteem a pearl, though in a rough shell. Gmce carries still its own worth, though under a deformed body and ragged garments; yea, though they have but a'small measure of that either; yea, the very lowest degree of gmce, as a pearl of the least size, or a small piece of gold, yet men will not throw it away. But, as they say, the least shavings of gold are worth the keeping. The Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in their way, but took it up; for possibly, say they, the name of God may be on it. Though there was a little superstition in that, yet truly there is nothing but good religion in it, if we apply it to men. Tmmple not on any; there may be some work of grace there that thou knowest not of. The name of God may be written upon that soul thou treadest on.
THE BEASTS WITHIN US.
What, you will say, have I beasts within me? Yes; you have beasts, and a vast number of them. And that you may not think
I intend to - • '.---"-'•''